MAY 25, 2022
La Spata stands firm in attempt to block Reboyras’ proposal to allow car booting citywide
Ald. Daniel La Spata (1) speaks during a committee meeting on Tuesday.
A normally routine re-referral of a proposal out of the City Council’s rules committee led to confusion and an unusual roll call vote on Tuesday an alderman attempted in vain to further delay a proposal that would allow the booting of cars citywide.
Ald. Daniel La Spata (1) urged his colleagues during the meeting of the City Council Committee on Committees and Rules to vote “no” to re-refer to the Committee on License and Consumer Protection Ald. Ariel Reboyras’ (30) proposal that would make it legal for city workers to attach boots to cars across the whole city. The practice is currently legal in only 32 wards.
La Spata routed Reboyras’ proposal to the rules committee after it was introduced last month, essentially seeking to delay discussion and a vote on the proposal. But ultimately on Tuesday, enough aldermen supported sending Reboyras’ proposal to the license committee, where he originally proposed it to be assigned.
Related: Aldermen hobble Lightfoot water ordinance, Smith ethics package, Reboyras car booting expansion
“We know that there's one company in the city that does this service,” La Spata said on Tuesday. “If this person wanted to bring this to 13…14 other awards, they could meet with each of us as individuals to try to make that case.”
“It really is about trying to overturn a piece of legislation (O2021-735) that I passed last year about eliminating private booting from the 1st Ward,” La Spata said. “I have tried to work with this company on the reforms that I felt were appropriate — efforts that they have rebuffed consistently.”
Reboyras’ proposal represents an “endeavor to both overturn aldermanic prerogative but also to bring private booting into wards that don't desire it,” La Spata said before urging a “no” vote.
Ald. Jason Ervin (28) asked La Spata where he proposes the measure be assigned if not to the council’s license committee.
La Spata said the company Innovative Parking Solutions has “referred to their business as a public safety issue, and that is honestly why I called that committee on the floor. That is how they describe their work to me.”
La Spata suggested the proposal be sent to a joint committee of public safety and license and consumer protection.
The feud between La Spata and Reboyras over booting has been simmering for a while.
La Spata pitched his ward-level prohibition after “more than a year of contemplation and research” after he received complaints from his constituents that their cars were booted without warning, he said during a committee hearing last year. He also decried the “lack of a formal appeals process” for people who believe they were booted unfairly, creating an “unsavory arrangement” in which residents can only get fines waived by calling their local alderman.
Related: Aldermen call for citywide reform of ‘predatory’ car booting, delay home-sharing crackdown
La Spata’s 2021 booting ordinance was delayed by a month when Reboyras sent it to the rules committee.
Ald. Michelle Harris (8), who chairs the rules committee, largely quashed any substantive discussion on Reboyras’ proposal, saying that should happen when it gets called in its regularly assigned committee.
Aldermen who voted against sending the proposed ordinance to the license committee were: La Spata, Ald. Leslie Hairston (5), Ald. David Moore (17), Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33), Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35), Ald. Andre Vasquez (40), Ald. Michele Smith (43), Ald. Brendan Reilly (42), Ald. Maria Hadden (49), Ald. Debra Silverstein (50) and Ald. Sophia King (4).
As he voted in favor of referring the proposal to the license committee, Ald. George Cardenas (12) said “absolutely, democracy is best.”
Separately on Tuesday, aldermen swiftly and without discussion re-referred Smith’s proposed ethics overhaul ordinance (O2022-1100) that Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6) banished to the rules committee back to the ethics committee, which she chairs.
Related: Ethics reform package set to be introduced this week would end ‘I got a guy at City Hall’ practice, sponsor says
The ethics package (O2022-1100, R2022-364) proposed by Smith last month would expand the city’s conflict of interest reach, hike fines for flouting the ethics code and prohibit former aldermen from walking the City Council floor. It is set on Tuesday to be reassigned to the council’s ethics committee.
Smith’s ethics package would mark the first update to the city’s ethics code since December 2019.
Finally on Tuesday, the rules committee unanimously advanced to Mayor Lori Lightfoot the list of 14 nominees to the city’s first-of-its-kind citywide civilian committee tasked with overseeing the Chicago Police Department.
The nominees include community advocates, pastors, a former alderman and a state representative’s chief of staff.
Related: Finalists for interim police oversight commission include activists, pastors, former alderman, previous aldermanic candidate
Lightfoot is now tasked with choosing seven people who will serve on the interim commission until commission members can be appointed by local police district commissioners who are elected during the 2023 city election.
Aldermen approved the creation of the new Community Commission for Public Safety and Police Accountability last July, ending the battle for a long-sought framework for civilian oversight of the Chicago Police Department.
Related: City Council approves long-sought civilian oversight of CPD, but supporters say there is still work ‘to be done’
Aldermen did not discuss the nominees or ask them any questions during Tuesday’s meeting, which was the one chance the entire City Council had to probe the potential commissioners.
"These individuals represent a diverse group of Chicagoans with a deep commitment to improve safety within our community and building trust amongst communities and the police,” Ald. Harry Osterman (48), who helped spearhead the commission, said.
A spokesperson for Lightfoot’s office did not respond to a request for comment on how soon she expects to make her picks for the commission.
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